When the Boston Red Sox and pitcher Jon Lester could not agree on a new contract (and if you didn’t know, Lester is due to be a free agent after this season), little did Red Sox Nation imagine they would hear his name amid all these trade rumors. The hope for 2014 was that the Sox could be in some position to repeat their feat from 2013 and win the World Series. This would greatly increase the chances of Lester staying in Boston.
2014 hasn’t panned out the way the organization and its fans had hoped. The Red Sox own a record of 48-58 and are struggling at the bottom of the AL East, 11 games behind division leader, the Baltimore Orioles. They also sit 8.5 games back in the Wild Card race with six teams ahead of them. Tall order and a tough ask even for the defending champs.
So hearing Lester’s name this late into the trade deadline chatter should be of no surprise. What adds to this chatter is that Lester has stated that he is unlikely to negotiate with the Red Sox during the exclusive negotiating window period that begins after the World Series ends. He will test the market. He has that right, and I doubt anyone would blame him.
Sure, Lester has previously stated he would be willing to take a “hometown discount” to stay a member of the Red Sox, and I believe he will weigh all the options that will be presented to him, regardless of the team. That includes a return to Boston should he be dealt.
That “fear” alone could detract some teams from entering into the Lester fray, but there are teams out there that will be seeking Lester’s services even if it is only for the remainder of the 2014 season.
Here’s a list of teams that have either been linked to Lester rumors or that have something in their trade deadline past that makes me believe they have a smidgen of an opportunity to get Lester.
For each team, I have included a potential four-man postseason starting rotation. Some of those are pretty scary.
(Teams listed are not in any particular order.)